According to popular psychological theories, we are most attracted to people who share similar attitudes with us. While we can surely get along with those whose attitudes vary a little, but we will be completely repulsed by those whose attitudes are extremely different from ours.
When we make friends, we look for similar qualities and exclude anyone whose attitudes are beyond a certain set.
How dissimilarity-repulsion works
You may notice that while people in one country may consider certain insects a delicacy, others are grossed out by it. This is exactly how the dissimilarity-repulsion principle works.
If you want to be friends with someone, try attitude alignment or mimicking their behavior to get your foot in the door. While you may not be good friends, but moderation will help you talk to new people. This is a very helpful trait to cultivate if you are in sales as you can influence people by getting to know them better.
The similarity-attraction effect
Converse to the repulsion hypothesis is the similarity-attraction effect. Basically, it means that the similarities in people tract the to each other. It is the social psychology theory at play on social networking and dating sites. Notice that dating sites explicitly match people based on the similarity of their preferences, hobbies and traits.
This proves the popular saying ‘Birds of a feather flock together’. So, we can move on to the next idea in attitude alignment that is called attraction through association.
Attraction through association
This theory is an offshoot of the dissimilarity-repulsion principle and similarity-attraction effect wherein the attraction or repulsion is felt due to the sharing of an experience. We tend to like people with whom we have shared a pleasant experience or people whom we associate with enjoyable events. For example, if we meet someone at a party where we are having fun, we are more likely to be attracted to those people.
Relationships that were formed on the basis of positive feelings are more likely to succeed than those where negative feelings are involved.
This is key to the process of classical conditioning that drives dissimilarity-repulsion and similarity-attraction.